Here's the view from my living room couch. Cheerful, isn't it? Flowers are imperative on windowsills in the darkening winter. When twilight comes, I turn on my Xmas lights.
My friend Jonatha Johnson, quiltmaker, who moved back to Vicksburg MI earlier this year, sent me these darling Xmas ornaments who I liken to Snap Crackle and Pop, the Rice Crispies fellows from the 50s. See below.
Jonatha said she's made lots of friends since her move from the Washington DC area. I wanted to send her my poem People from the Midwest but try as I may, I can't find it.
Yesterday I was upstairs in the study typing up a few letters, as I'm wont to do in my position as leader of the free world, oh, I forgot, that's Obama's job, (dyou believe the dude is finally getting some legislation passed?) and after I finished my second letter, I took myself by surprise and began typing up a donation letter to many people in my address book.
The fact that I can write a good letter or a good poem or a good blog post is, quite frankly, my raison d'etre. Now this is a really good letter but we can also say, if it's so good it should produce results.
The time is now! New Directions needs your tax-deductible donation more than ever.
Click onto our website to see our wonderful activities - www.newdirectionssupport.org - and also to make your IMMEDIATE PayPal donation - OR mail in your check to New Directions, PO Box 181, Hatboro, PA 19040.
No donation too large or too small.
Who else but New Directions answers every single phone call within 24 hours, thanks to our dedicated daily phone greeters?
Who else gives day-to-day 'counseling' to help a person thru their deep depression until the darkness lifts?
Who else but New Directions maintains a Top Doc / Top Therapist list to keep our members productive citizens of the world?
Who else publishes our 40-page Compass magazine with inspirational stories, news items and poetry?
If you agree that New Directions is instrumental to the literally thousands of people who have passed through our doors, INCLUDING YOUR OWN SWEET SELF, THANK US WITH A DONATION.
Warm wishes to you all,
Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP
215 659 2142
Hanging over my head is the need to get labwork for my kidneys. Since I've temp'ly stopped driving due to sciatica, I've had to miss appointments w/my kidney doctor.
Today I was determined to get the tests done. I tiptoed into Scott's bedroom where he was still under the covers. Okay, he was in no shape to drive me. Time for Plan B.
I got my car keys, unlocked my car door, packed my Vatican bag w/wallet and book and set off for Jenkintown and Quest Diagnostics.
When thinking about driving, which I haven't done in THREE MONTHS I thought to myself, Will I remember how to do it? Will I remember how to get to Jenkintown?
I have an enduring fantasy of my 88-yo mother getting behind the wheel. She gave up driving when she was about 80, but I always wonder if there were an emergency, would she be able to drive? This adds to another fantasy of mine, my favorite, What if I lost my contact lenses? Could I still drive? Now, that's a real tough call cuz I'm basically 'blind' w/o my eyes in.
So I get to Quest w/no problem at all. See, no one knows about this place. Everyone goes to the Abington one where the average wait, even w/an appt, is an hour. They force-feed you with the abomination of an unstoppable television, so you can't even read to kill time.
I'm the only one at Quest in J'town, just as I'd hoped. I take some deep drinks at the water fountain and gaze at the hideous green walls. Ah, I've remembered to bring my script with me, plus my Keith Richards book in case I have to wait. Now, when I was driving to J'town, what song should come on the radio but "Under My Thumb" which Keith talks about a lot in his book. So it was great to hear it. The lyrics, as are all the Stones' lyrics, are first written by Keith and then Mick Jagger finishes em up. The songs always tell a story, even tho the lyrics don't always make perfect sense.
Keith talks a lot about his drug usage which is pretty interesting to read about. Readers like myself can of course think back to their own drug histories; like Keith I was a child of the sixties and did inhale and did breathe in but never injected. Read my heroin poem at blog's end.
Lemme quote a line from "Life," Keith Richard's autobiography when he talks about what it's like to perform:
"Levitation is probably the closest analogy to what I feel - whether it's Jumpin' Jack or Satisfaction or All Down the Line - when I realize I've hit the right tempo and the band's behind me. It's like taking off in a Learjet. I have no sense that my feet are touching the ground. I'm elevated to this other space. People say, Why don't you give it up?
"I can't retire until I croak. I don't think they quite understand what I get out of this. I'm not doing it just for the money or for you. I'm doing it for me."
He also has a keen sense of characterization for all the thousands of people he meets in his life. Mick Jagger, he says, is his best friend and yet Jagger is insanely jealous of every single guy friend Richards has.
Turns out the Quest phlebotomist Annie told me her mom had a kidney transplant at Einstein Hospital. That's my hospital. In the parlance of advertising today, we say: My Einstein Hospital; or that's my bank. Very patently phony. But these people get on the bandwagon and they can't turn it off.
So Annie tells me that her mom had very good doctors. She had diabetes and was on dialysis for two years when the phone call came. All four grown children went down to Einstein and waited while mom was on the table. The surgeons would come into the waiting room periodically and reassure the family everything was going well.
Mom lived for 6 years with the cadaver's kidney. But, sadly, she developed an unrelated heart condition, which ended up killing her.
It was a nice little interlude between me and Annie while my blood was spurting into three vials, splish splash, splish splash.
In the old days I was a magnet for other people suffering from manic depression. Today I hear kidney stories.
My heroin poem was published in David Kime's Transcendent Visions magazine. It's one of my favorite poems I've written. I've written so many poems over the years that I can't keep track of them. I'd lost this poem for many years and then found it and and mailed it in to David. I called to thank him for the just-published issue. He was at the airport gonna fly to Dallas to visit family. He said I'd brought him 5 people to his zine.
Poets helping other poets.
At the end of his zine, he has a list of acknowledgments and info. Many of his poets run their own zines so he tells you how to order them. "Send concealed cash when ordering zines. If not make check out to the publisher, not the zine."
Whenever I send my poems in to David, I send him a twenty to defray expenses. So I loved reading this. That I'm not the only one who loves the ease of sending cash. This year I donated to several radio stations I like but I don't want their g'dam literature or proliferation thereof so I stuck twenties into the envelope with no return address.
Bold? You bet. It's only money. I didn't send kidneys.
HEROIN POEM: SHOOT ME UP, DENNIS
I sat in her lawn chair waiting for the ducks to come by
the creek wound through her backyard
I thought I could live in a place like this.
Upstairs in the bathroom she and Dennis were
shooting heroin. He'd put in the kitchen sink for her,
a shock of porcelain white that was easy to clean and
a faucet that for once didn't drip.
Since I was twelve, I wanted to shoot heroin.
There was a movie with Frank Sinatra called
The Man with the Golden Arm and I wanted
to feel golden just once here on earth
before I left.
Sandy said whatever you do, stay out of the bathroom,
Don't even come near. I wondered what noises people
made when they shot heroin, if they used rubber tubing
as nurses do and if they looked at each other
when the snarl came?
Sandy, I said, before they went up. I'd like to have just a drop,
a little taste. (It was what I waited for all my life.)
Don't be silly, she said. Junkies don't share. It's all we got
for the whole damn week.
Dennis stood by the sliding glass door. He had
long tanned arms coming through his undershirt and blue eyes
like a kindergartner's on the first day of school.
Sure, he said, c'mon up.
I looked out at the creek while Sandy told him to hurry up.
And they went up the stairs. I sat in the chair and kicked my leg.
Maybe the ducks would be along sometime soon.